Feed Your Soul, WNY’s culinary production company, is proud to present Western New York with Nickel City Chef’s fourth season, a four show series running from Feb. 20 – April 15th
Sunday’s competition features Nickel City Chef Krista Van Wagner of Curly’s versus Challenging Chef Frank Mercado, the Executive Chef of M&T Bank’s Executive Dining Room.
Following on the heels of the release of Nickel City Chef’s top-selling cookbook, tickets for this competition and the rest of the 2012 series sold out in less than 45 minutes.
Press and camera crews are encouraged to attend.Â Please use the contact information above if you have any questions or are in need of hi-resolution photographs.
More information about Nickel City Chef is noted below the biographies of this week’s participants.Â A full Season Four, 2012 schedule and video from past seasons can be found online at www.NickelCityChef.com
Nickel City Chef, Sunday February 19th
This Week’s Chefs were:
Nickel City Chef Krista Van Wagner
Chef/Owner, Curly’s–Buffalo, NY
Nickel City Chef Krista Van Wagner is a graduate CIA with experience in a variety of positions that called for her to work in Switzerland, the Caribbean and various regions of the U.S. Krista and her husband are the chef/owners of Curlyâ€™s, one of Buffaloâ€™s most reputable fine dining establishments. Curlyâ€™s utilizes the Van Wagnersâ€™ passion for Caribbean food and their classical French training to provide diners with a unique and delicious experience. Curlyâ€™s success has led to growth–an expansion which included the addition of a banquet center and private dining room. In addition to the restaurant business the couple manufactures a line of sauces/condiments for use in the wholesale/retail sector. Chef Van Wagner and her husband reside in WNY with their 3 children. Challenging Frank Mercado
Executive Chef, The M&T Executive Dining Roomâ€“Buffalo, NY
A graduate of the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, Frank Mercadoâ€™s lengthy resume includes some of Buffaloâ€™s best restaurantsâ€”Oliverâ€™s, Tsunami, and Siena among them. As Executive Chef for M&T Bankâ€™s private Executive Dining Room, every day he creates a new menu featuring the world’s freshest ingredients. When not running the scratch kitchen for one of Buffaloâ€™s most prestigious banks, he works shifts at both Torches and Sea Bar in order to keep his skills honed and his experiences varied.
This Week’s Judges:
â€¨John Bourdage, of Bourdage Consulting, provides consultation on the improvement of interpersonal relationships through a renewed understanding of service and social skills. As a graduate of Ivor Spencer School for Butler Administration, Bourdage received training in manners, etiquette, food and wines, entertaining, and the fine arts.
Mary Ann Giordanno
â€¨Executive Chef and Season Three Winner, Creekviewâ€”Buffalo, NYâ€¨
Mary Ann Giordanno describes her cuisine as â€œAmerican fusion,â€ drawing from Mediterranean, Italian, European, and Asian influences. With more than 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry, she has been the Executive Chef at Williamsville’s Creekview Restaurant since 1997. As a chef instructor at Auburn Watson Culinary School, Giordanno shares the passion for cooking she learned from a childhood she describes as being â€œsurrounded by food and life in the kitchen.â€
Musician and Host, Buffalo. For Real TVâ€”Buffalo, NYâ€¨
Buffalo Music Hall of Fame inductee Nelson Starr is best known as one of Buffaloâ€™s most influential musicians. Recently, Nelson has turned hisÂ keen acumen toward Buffaloâ€™s food scene,Â bringing celebrityÂ chef and Travel Channel star Anthony Bourdain to Buffalo and hosting Buffalo. For Real TV. Starr has dedicated himself to exploring and revealing WNYâ€™s most treasured cultural gems, hidden hangouts, and beloved pastimes, all with a dose of self-deprecatingÂ humor and naive charm.
About Nickel City Chef:
Nickel City Chef pits two chefs against one another in a culinary fete not unlike the popular television show Iron Chef America. At each event, one of our four Nickel City Chefs faces a qualified challenger in a race to complete three technically perfect, innovative dishes featuring the secret ingredient. Because of our dedication to New York, our secret ingredient is always an item that it grown or produced in Western New York.
A panel of qualified judges rates each chefâ€™s offerings using a scoring method that accounts for skill, flavor, appeal and creativity.Â This exciting and unique series takes place inside one of Buffaloâ€™s best kept secrets, a turn-of-the-century warehouse on Buffaloâ€™s emerging West Side. Formerly a wood-Âburning stove company, Artisan Kitchens & Baths is Western New Yorkâ€™s premiere appliance retailer. Its second floor is a loft showroom completely outfitted with side-by-Âside $100,000 competitionâ€‘worthy kitchens.
The 200 attendees at each event watch the battle unfold live while sampling catered snacks.Â The audienceâ€™s ability to enjoy the event is enhanced by the 10 flat screen panel televisions that hang throughout the location providing close-ups of both chefsâ€™ stoves, work spaces and plating areas. Extra points are awarded to the chef that earns the respect of the audience.
Many thanks to the other sponsors: Jenn Air, SubZero, Wolf, GE Monogram, Cutco, Wegmans, Mansion on Delaware Avenue, D’Avolio, Independent Health Foundation/Healthy Options Buffalo, Buffalo Cheese Traders, the Buffalo chapter of the Chaine de Rotisseurs, Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops, Buffalo Spree and Kemper Cabinets